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It’s been months since I last blogged. Between becoming a father, struggling through my dissertation, and the regular duties of faculty work, I have let blogging slip. But now that the semester is ending, and I’m about to analyze my course feedback, I figured that I might as well post about the feedback as I did last year. Though I’ll take a different approach this time around.

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I ran across this very helpful article recently that does with reading and listening comprehension skills that I have been doing with reading-writing subskills.

Song, M-Y. (2009). Do divisible subskills exists in second language (L2) comprehension? A structural equation modeling approach. Language Testing, 25 (4), 435-464.

In essence, the author asks: to what degree does student performance on a test suggest that reading, listening, and 2-3 identified subskills exist as separate constructs (as evidenced by structural equation modeling)? In comparison, I have been trying to identify the degree to which reading comprehension, writing ability, synthesis comprehension, and paraphrase writing ability are all subskills of reading-to-write tasks. So this article provided quite a bit of theoretical framing and technical analysis that I need to further refine my own study. (more…)

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I work with my institution’s international teaching assistant (ITA) program. The program, like those at many universities and colleges in the USA, is designed to provide language and pedagogical training to non-native English speaking graduate students who serve as teaching assistants for their departments.

Last fall, after testing all potential ITAs for oral proficiency training, our program received many concerned calls from departments whose international students did not meet the minimum English language standards to be TAs. In fact, a large number of the students were well below cut-off in the university’s policy regarding ITAs. Departments were concerned that these students needed funding and now they did not qualify to work as TAs due to their oral proficiency. To put it mildly was a very frustrating experience for many stakeholders.

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Today I came across a post recounting comments made by The Sims and Spore game designer, Will Wright. This supreme video game designer (second only to Nintendo guru Shigeru Miyamoto) asks:

“We’re taking the idea that you can have a million people engaged not just in entertainment, but also have them creating huge amounts of content for other people to experience,” said Wright.

“The question is how can you transfer that to other fields besides games.”

And that is the all important question. (more…)

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Today I came across a blog post likening research writing to marathon preparation. I imagine this is good advice – in fact, I remember my thesis chair giving me similar kinds of advice when I was an MA TESOL student.

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